We've Been Tested
The US government has decided in its infinite wisdom to treat hackers as bank robbers. Some of these guys are crooks by nature, it's true, but in my estimation, most of them are just enthusiastic technophiles, the cyberspace equivalent of Tigger. The fact is that they have been doing us a great service, largely for free. Most of them understand this at some level, and it adds to their enjoyment. "What could that service possibly be?" you ask in disbelief.
Most people think hackers are just vandals, stomping on the sandcastles at the info-beach, and they certainly have done a lot of damage. But what happens after the damage is done? Systems managers tighten up, toughen up and start to get smart. Management couldn't get this kind of intensive, creative and thorough systems testing for any amount of money. As a matter of fact, none of them would do any systems testing if they could get away with it. There are ways to measure security and integrity of systems, but it's much easier to throw paper at it, make it look like all the cinches are tight. Let the next manager deal with the real problems. Hackers work against these lazy attitudes. Hackers provide discipline. (Too bad they have been spending most of their time on Microsoft.)
Think about the natural selection of it. They look for weaknesses and pounce. What was it Nietzsche said? …
Why does your big brother push you around? Because he can, you think. But what is the result? When you eventually have to confront dangerous characters, you will know how to fight. Characters like these, maybe. Thank God for hackers. And viruses and spam too.
8/10/2005 11:46 AM